Rock Out

This week was the 2012 induction at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here, and even though I was sad Laura Nyro couldn’t come, at least she had a better excuse (being dead) than Axl Rose (he’d get into a fight with his old band mates if he had to share a stage with them),  and I was glad to see Cleveland getting a little love in the media.   A city can be great in ways both large and small, expected and quirky, and lest you think I protest too much over how great a place this:

–This week I reviewed this wonderful book,

whose author now lives in Cleveland.  Luong shares her riveting life story and hard-won wisdom through writing as well as speaking and activism all over the world.

–Last Saturday I took part in a local panel on publishing for kids.  While the audience was picking our brains, we slyly picked one another’s as well.  One of my favorite moments was when Shelley Pearsall, author of the Scott O’Dell winning “Trouble Don’t Last”, described how she finds  her characters.  “They just sort of show up,” she said, “like they’re all on this big bus and they’re waving to me out the window.”  Rebeccca Barnhouse, whose historical novel “Peaceweaver” just pubbed,  demanded to know where that bus stop was.

–As you may know, FOX STREET and MO WREN are both set in Cleveland, and this week brought both good news and bad.  Good: FOX STREET is nominated for two state awards!  Bad: Here in Ohio, one of the books it’s up against is a biography of Justin Bieber.  I’m not  sure how my own niece would vote, if she was sure it was a secret ballot.

–Midst all the controversy over hoodies,  my friend Susan Petrone,, who is, yes, a terrific Cleveland writer, had the happiest story.  Leaving  for school, her kindergartner put hers on backwards.  When Susan asked what was up, her daughter answered, “In case I want to be alone.”

–Like every other woman I know, I do some yoga.  The Atma Center is a  few blocks from my house, and the other day when we were practicing breathing, I thought about how writing has its own inhale and exhale,  how different kinds of writing require different breaths.  When I write a sentence like, “His uniform was crisp and his blonde hair slicked back,” that’s what they call “the natural breath”.  But,  “Some things we can’t understand right away, Mom says.  Some things we have to carry around, like pebbles in our pockets, fingering them, now and then taking them out to hold up to the light.”–that’s getting closer to a full yogic breath.

–Next up for Cleveland: a casino.  I know, I know.  But I’m reserving judgement.  Meanwhile, the uncut grass outside my window leaps for joy.